On Wednesday, the State Public Works Board approved approximately 160 parcels between Fresno and Kings Counties for acquisition for the high-speed rail project. The California High Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”) requested acquisition of the 160 parcels which, in addition to several hundred other parcels, they believe are necessary for the construction of the rail project.

Contractors have already begun demolishing improvements on already acquired parcels for the beginning of the first 29-mile segment in Fresno. The 160 parcels will be part of the second construction segment stretching to an approximate 65-mile span. The acquisitions vary from whole takes of many properties to part-takes of others.

An agency’s use of eminent domain or condemnation to acquire property needed for projects, such as the California High Speed Rail, is typically pursued only after negotiations have failed. A lawsuit is filed by the agency, and a jury decides the amount of compensation to which the owner is entitled.

The next step for the acquisition of the second segment will be negotiations with the property owners of the 160 parcels. If agreements cannot be reached, CHSRA will likely pursue eminent domain to acquire the parcels.

CHSRA is wasting no time in preparing for the construction of the second segment. It has already awarded a $71.9 million contract to a Netherland-based construction firm known as ARCADIS U.S. to help manage the construction contracts for the 65-mile segment. CHSRA will be accepting construction bids and will be depending on ARCADIS to help in choosing a construction company to help design and build the segment. ARACDIS will also be in charge of managing contract risks, overseeing inspections of the construction sites and testing material necessary for construction.